As we travel back and forth to Cuba, often with delegations of U.S. policymakers, we focus our research and reporting on issues that the broader American public can relate to, that can help us strip away mysteries surrounding Cuba, and press our case for changing Cuba policy and normalizing relations.
That’s the goal behind our report, “Women’s Work: Gender Equality in Cuba and the Role of Women Building Cuba’s Future,” that we release this week in time for International Women’s Day.
Rather than making the false choice common to narratives about Cuba –everything is either paradise or lying in ruins – our report depicts just how complicated this problem is, by being honest about the successes and failures of Cuba’s revolutionary commitment to equality for women.
It begins with the findings of global organizations, from Save the Children to the World Economic Forum, which give Cuba high marks for making all its citizens healthier and more literate, bringing girls out of their homes and into the classroom, tripling the number of women at work, and providing the strongest protections of reproductive rights and producing the lowest incidence of HIV/AIDS in all of Latin America.
But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. There are key objectives of equality– equality at work, equal sharing of burdens at home, and equal access to positions in which women can exercise real power –where Cuba falls short.